-- MarioBlanco - 09 Apr 2008


Community outreach is an essential part of the activities in the Materials and Process Simulation Center (MSC) directed by Prof. Goddard. Within the MSC, these activities are coordinated by Dr. Mario Blanco. Below are listed some of the community outreach activities that are ongoing or which have taken place in this center. MSC participants play an active and direct role in the various outreach activities. These include:

Minority Underrepresented Research Fellowship (MURF) Sponsorships: Takes aim at enhancing student careers through close interaction with faculty and research scientists. Various MURF fellowships offer living accommodations and a $5000 stipend for a 10-week summer research project, with Caltech leveraging NSF funds by an equal amount. Each of the last 3 summers, we have had a MURF student participate in MSC projects. Last year the MURF student worked on catalysis projects. We expect to continue such activities, and part of our regular outreach operations and to sponsor additional summer fellowships for undergraduates from underrepresented groups.

NSF sponsored workshops: Starting Jan 22, 2004, the MSC held a two-week NSF sponsored workshop (PASI INT-03-22465) on nanotechnology that hosted 5 students from San Francisco State University, two from Los Angles California State University, and two Jackson State University in Mississippi, all of which serve underrepresented minorities. In addition, 5 students each from UNAM University in Mexico, Universidad Pontificia Javeriana, in Colombia, and 5 university of Universidad del Valle of Guatemala participated. This involved scientific lectures in the mornings and hands-on computer simulations in the afternoons. A second one-week workshop for 200 students was held in Cali Columbia on January 2005, with 2 faculty/staff and 2 grad students from Caltech. Additional information can be found at URL: http://www.wag.caltech.edu/PASI/. The final report can be found at URL: http: www.wag.caltech.edu/PASI/CaltechPASI-FinalReport.pdf

Other outreach activities at the MSC: Goddard and members of the MSC group have played a vital role in many other several outreach activities and expect to continue participating in such activities. These have included

1. the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) program at Caltech

2. the Minorities in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering (MSE) program at Caltech.

3. Key personnel participates each year in the CSEM high school day with an exhibit on materials for the future, mentoring program for high school students, judging of science fairs at local high schools, and participation at grad-preview dinners for underrepresented minorities.

4. MSC personnel have tutored PREM minority students from CalState? Los Angeles, engaged in Master’s science programs with Prof. Frank Gomez.

5. MSC personnel have been involved in co-designing E-105, a new engineering course on Product Design for the Developing World. E-105, a student-originated course, acquaints students with the realities of the developing world while providing quality of life academic experiences. In 2007 over 20 students took the course and travel to Guatemala to learn about poverty and how to create income-generating activities focused on engineering solutions to sanitation, housing, agriculture, and small manufacturing enterprises. In 2007, the MSC is working with the Caltech Y to extend these experiences to a wider Caltech audience.

6. The MSC took part in the CSEM Round Robin Session at a Two-Day High School Visit to Caltech, with laboratory tours to ~ 100 local High School students from predominantly minority neighborhoods.

7. MSC staff attended the International Development Design Summit, IDDS at MIT in the summer of 2007. MSC staff promoted a SURF minority student to participate in this one-month long workshop.

8. The MSC took part in the Science fair at Rosemead Middle School organized by Bill Goddard and judged by 10 MSC and Caltech scientists, with over 70 science projects. MSC organized on April 4th, 2007 a science fair at Margaret Duff Elementary School in Rosemead CA, 7830 Dorothy St., Rosemead, CA 91770 (626) 307-3344, in the Garvey Elementary School District. Over 100 students in the 5th and 6th grade participated. Twelve judges from the Materials and Process Simulation Center at Caltech participated (graduate students, postdocs, and staff) under the direction of Prof. William A. Goddard III to evaluate more than 40 science projects, on the basis of originality, use of the scientific method and subject understanding. The first eight projects obtained honorable mentions and the first three places were awarded diplomas. Two pictures of the event are shown below. Duff Elementary is a diverse school, with 57 Hispanic, 40% Asian, student population.

9. The MSC participated in the YESS program for orientation of H.S. students to opportunities in science and engineering. MSC staff presented a slide show titled “Under my own feet, or how I became a Scientist.” The presentation was intended to acquaint high school minority students with the decision process that goes into choosing a career in the sciences. The presentation emphasizes the need to be exposed to reading material at an early age that may help shape the future choices for a professional career.

10. The MSC contributed to the Prospective Minority Graduate Students visit. Over 60 students from the continental US and Puerto Rico visited Caltech invited by Caltech’s President Dr. David Baltimore, all expenses paid. As a direct result, one visiting female student from UCLA credits her application for admission to Caltech in part to what she learned during the MSC tour she undertook. She joined Caltech last year.

11. The MSC organized a Pan-American Advanced Study Institutes workshop which brought together 15 underrepresented minority graduate students with 15 graduate and postgraduate counterpart from Latin America in a two week workshop on Computational Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering.

12. MSC sending volunteer judges to the California Science Fair on May 24-25, 2004. Prof. Goddard has participated in the past as a judge.

13. “In search of Oil and Future Energy Sources with Quantum Mechanics,” Keynote lecture at 2004 MURF/SURF Meeting, June 16th, 2004 by MSC staff.

14. A 30-minute presentation to science and technology by minority scientists and engineers by the MSC titled “Beyond Nuts and Bolts: Materials for the Car of the Future”, over 50 H.S. students and their teachers in attendance followed by lab tours with “hands-on” computer presentations by MSC personnel to students and teachers.

15. MSC participation in the HENAAC (Hispanic Engineer National Achievement Awards Corporation). Caltech has agreed to be the academic partner for the HENAAC awards meeting.